New ACU research institute tackles health and ageing

Published: Monday 12th October 2015

Australian Catholic University (ACU) launched a new research institute in Melbourne – the Institute for Health and Ageing (IHA). The IHA undertakes research which promotes positive ageing. It investigates the impact of people’s experience on the ageing process, as well as developing, implementing and evaluating interventions that improve the quality of life of older people, their family and carers.

Led by Professor Marita McCabe, a leading international expert in health and ageing, the IHA has a multidisciplinary team of experts who are passionate about the study of ageing and making a positive impact on people’s lives.

“We believe in taking a “whole of person” multidisciplinary approach to healthy ageing. We don’t just focus on the physical or the mental aspects of health, because they are interlinked and one feeds into the other,” said Professor McCabe.

Professor McCabe said the IHA has a wide range of specialists in areas such as mental health, physical activity, nutrition, musculoskeletal conditions, chronic illness, social connection, the built environment and the social determinants of healthy ageing, all of whom bring extensive expertise of working with culturally and linguistically diverse and disadvantaged communities.

“We strongly believe that interventions and services for older Australians will be more effective if we take this multidisciplinary approach to our work.  This will result in better outcomes for older people – who are at the centre of everything we do,” Professor McCabe said.

Professor Greg Craven, ACU Vice-Chancellor, said he was delighted to welcome the IHA to ACU.

“The Baby Boomer generation brings a new and plentiful set of challenges in terms of how society best supports our ageing population, and these are challenges which the three tiers of government, community groups, aged care providers and ACU will address with vigour and determination,” he said.

Professor Craven said the IHA’s work exemplifies the ACU Mission and is an essential part of ACU’s commitment to supporting excellent research which reaches out into the wider community.

“The IHA will be making a difference to the lives of the older members of our community, especially those in disadvantaged groups.  Their work will make a difference to the families, carers, service providers and community groups that work with, and care for, older Australians,” he said.

Early priorities for the IHA include linking in with key partners in the community, government, not-for-profit and private spheres, and also establishing effective partnerships with colleagues within the University and across the research sector.